Portobello Open Air Bathing Pool

Sign for the Wave Making Machine

View to the SW from Portobello Open Air Pool, now closed - 1985

  Rod Wallace, Kincardine on Forth, Fife, Scotland


Portobello  Open Air Pool  -  Sign

Thank you to Rod Wallace who wrote:

Working at the Pool

"I worked at the Portobello Open Air Pool for two seasons, 1974 and 1977. In the latter season there was a clear-out of stuff into a skip on the basis that it wasn't expected the pool would open again in 1978, though in fact it did."


"The sign was saved by me and has adorned bathrooms in various houses over the years.  I also used to have some scruffy towels with the POAP logo, but these seem have gone now. Only the memories are left."


"I remember  the contrast of the rare sunny days when every locker was in use and there was hardly a square inch to spare on the poolside, and much more common poor weather, with hardly a patron to be seen except the hardy regulars who swam every day.


"In the quiet times when there was no meaningful work to be done.  Some of us used to carve chess sets from the decades old carbolic soap, which had long since become brick hard!

Other amusements, on dull days, included:

- playing some of the collection of 78 rpm records, some records dating from the 1930s

reading 'The Book' - an evaluation of all staff who had ever worked there, with comments after their name and then VG, G or NBG.  A certain Mr Tommy Connery was listed."

The Wave Machine

"By the late-1970s, the wave machine was a bit decrepit but still worked on one side of the pool. It was an impressive site in the plant area when in operation, very noisy and quite scary.

I remember the machine being powered by a huge electric motor coupled to a gearbox and cranks.  There was a lever that controlled the movement of the wave paddles, and the plant men never turned it up very high for fear of damage.  I think they were wise, because all that power could have vibrated concrete and cracked it."

The Suction Men

"Two worthies of the pool in those late days were Jock Good and Bill Woodhouse, 'the suction men'.   Jock and Bill started in the early morning and hand-hauled a heavy suction trolley across the the bottom of the pool from side to side, using ropes. Not bad for two guys, one over 60 and the other over 70!

It gave them a good thirst, which they slaked in the Foresters Arms or the Railway Club, and on busy days they came back in the afternoon to do a back-shift in the changing rooms."

In Decline

"I loved my seasons at the pool, but it was sad to see it in terminal decline. I hope nonetheless, that people will enjoy seeing this photo."

Rod Wallace, Kincardine on Forth, Fife, Scotland:  April 15, 2010



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